The mathematical modelling of tumour angiogenesis and invasion

Acta Biotheor. 1995 Dec;43(4):387-402. doi: 10.1007/BF00713561.


In order to accomplish the transition from avascular to vascular growth, solid tumours secrete a diffusible substance known as tumour angiogenesis factor (TAF) into the surrounding tissue. Endothelial cells which form the lining of neighbouring blood vessels respond to this chemotactic stimulus in a well-ordered sequence of events comprising, at minimum, of a degradation of their basement membrane, migration and proliferation. Capillary sprouts are formed which migrate towards the tumour eventually penetrating it and permitting vascular growth to take place. It is during this stage of growth that the insidious process of invasion of surrounding tissues can and does take place. A model mechanism for angiogenesis is presented which includes the diffusion of the TAF into the surrounding host tissue and the response of the endothelial cells to the chemotactic stimulus. Numerical simulations of the model are shown to compare very well with experimental observations. The subsequent vascular growth of the tumour is discussed with regard to a classical reaction-diffusion pre-pattern model.

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents / physiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Diffusion
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / physiopathology*
  • Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / physiopathology*


  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents